AN AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL regulator has been asked to consider revoking the Church of Scientology’s registration as a charity in the wake of a damning documentary about the religion.
The film, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief , based on Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Lawrence Wright’s 2013 book, made shocking allegations about Scientology, including that members were threatened and tortured in prison-like camps, forced to endure hard labour and beaten in ‘The Hole’.
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon is concerned by allegations in the film and has asked the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission to urgently review the church’s registration.
“These allegations included that the Church of Scientology … tortures its members, that it has stolen US Government documents and requires current members to cut all ties with friends and family members,’’ Senator Xenophon said in a letter to the charities commission.
He said he was deeply concerned about the harmful influence the global Church of Scientology could be having on its Australian branches.
Acting Charities and Not-for-profits commissioner David Locke confirmed that the commission had received Senator Xenophon’s letter and would respond directly to him.
The commission has revoked the registration of 10 charities since 2014.
In 2009, Senator Xenophon used parliamentary privilege to reveal allegations from former members that the Church of Scientology had engaged in forced imprisonment, coerced abortions, physical violence and blackmail.
Prominent Scientologist and Hollywood actor John Travolta has rejected claims in the American documentary that he was being held captive by the church which holds a “dirt file’’ on him.